Sketch for a Digital Humanities Laboratory

Beginnings of a draft of a sketch for a digital humanities laboratory.

BRLESC Ballistic Research Laboratories Electronic Scientific Computer

Why a digital humanities lab?

A digital humanities lab builds upon existing face-to-face spaces for interdisciplinary conversation, debate, disagreement, and discussion at institutions such as campus humanities centers. It does so by adding an online dimension that deepens, expands, and continues scholarly conversations. It does not to replace face-to-face interaction, but to enhance it. The digital laboratory can reconnect faculty to deeply-rooted disciplinary concerns. It can introduce graduate students and undergraduates to age-old disciplinary and cross-disciplinary methods and questions. It also creates a mechanism and context for acquiring crucial new digital literacies, skills, and conceptual perspectives.

A digital humanities lab needs three things:

  1. A physical space, with the right equipment and tools for interactive work both online and in person, both at the lab and out “in the field.”
  2. A robust and coherent curriculum for undergraduates and graduate students (as a major, minor, certificate, module,  what have you). It should bring together traditional humanistic scholarship, new developments in the humanities, and the study of digital skills, literacy, and concepts.
  3. A robust online platform, conceptualized as an online website, blog, or magazine. It should connect face-to-face campus and community humanities activities to online formats. It should serve as a medium for experimenting with new modes of publication. And it should provide the online environment for effective scholarly communication. This online presence could be integrated into the curriculum of a digital humanities program so that students at both undergraduate and graduate levels can engage in ongoing humanities activities and explore different modes of scholarly writing and digital creation (through peer-review specialized articles; interviews with visiting scholars and faculty; reflections on symposia, seminars, courses, and conferences; digital explorations of archival documents at libraries; reports on ongoing research; debates about topics; cultural reviews and analysis of arts, culture, and intellectual events on and off campus; and other modes of writing and communicating).

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